Now in its 120th day of fighting, Israel is trying to turn Gaza against Hamas
Violent fighting continued in much of the Gaza Strip on Saturday, with parts of the north and south witnessing heavy fighting and mutual attacks, while the Palestinian Authority warned of the devastating consequences of an Israeli assault on the city of Rafah. In the Far South, it was considered tantamount to “the genocide or attempted displacement of approximately 1.5 million Palestinians.”
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it “views with extreme seriousness the statements by the occupation's Minister of Defense (Yov Galant) and other Israeli officials that they are close to starting a new and disgusting chapter of genocide in Rafah and its area, which exposes the lives of more than 1.5 million Palestinians to grave and real danger.”
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the occupying forces of continuing to commit more crimes and massacres against civilians, the worst forms of ethnic cleansing in all areas of the Gaza Strip from the north to its center to the south, including women, children, the sick and the elderly. He said the Israeli government was working to destroy everything in the Gaza Strip and make it uninhabitable.
The Palestinian warning came after Gallant's statements on Thursday, in which he confirmed that the Israeli army would move to the Rafah border with Egypt after completing its mission in Khan Yunis.
Rafah is the last stronghold of Hamas not penetrated by Israeli forces, and to this day faces fierce resistance in both the northern and southern regions.
An Israeli military spokesman said on Saturday that its forces had killed dozens of militants and destroyed several anti-tank missile launch sites in the northern and central Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours. Military equipment, weapons and documents belonging to the terrorist organization Hamas were found.
He said Israeli forces also killed Palestinian fighters west of Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip, and destroyed a Hamas military compound containing a tunnel opening and a warehouse for the organization's weapons. RPG bombs, grenades, military equipment and diving equipment were found.
On the other hand, “Al-Qassam Brigades” affiliated with “Hamas” and “Al-Quds Brigades” affiliated with “Islamic Jihad” confirmed that their fighters clashed with Israeli forces in most areas of the invasion. and destroyed Israeli tanks and vehicles.
As the war between Israel and Hamas entered its 120th day on Saturday, this week's conflict has become Israel's longest open war since 1948.
The Times of Israel website observed that there is no clear end to the ongoing war, with Israel insisting that even if an agreement is reached for a ceasefire and the release of Israeli hostages, the truce will be temporary and war will not break out. End until Hamas is eliminated.
The website said Israel was still planning to attack Rafa.
He reiterated Galant's assurances that the Israeli army would reach out to the “Rafa Brigade” affiliated with “Hamas” and eliminate it, as it is currently doing with the movement's brigades in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza.
Qaland said: “The Khan Younis Battalion, affiliated with Hamas, boasted that it would stand up to the IDF, and now it is collapsing, and I am saying here that we are finishing the mission in Khan Younis, we will reach and eliminate Rafah. All those who are terrorists there are trying to harm us. In Khan Younis.” He said the Israeli military's operations were “moving forward with impressive results” and that the matter was “very difficult for Hamas”.
He continued: “They don't have weapons, they don't have ammunition, they don't have the ability to treat the wounded, and they have 10,000 terrorists dead (across Gaza) and 10,000 wounded who are unable to do their jobs.” He insisted that this was “a blow to their potential”.
If the Israeli army continues its offensive towards the Rafah border, this means that Israel has decided to continue the conflict with Egypt, which fears that an attack on Rafah will include control of the Philadelphia border axis and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. For Egypt, two issues that Egypt warned them would not allow.
As the war continued and was expected to last longer, Israel sought to turn the population in Gaza against Hamas.
Israeli planes dropped leaflets in the form of the newspaper “Al-Waqiya” urging residents of Gaza to “wake up”.
The newspaper accused Hamas of squandering Gaza residents' money: “They burned people's money on mines and weapons.”
She added: “They destroyed everything good, they beat you and tortured you, they left your families on the street, they are hiding in the tunnels… are you calm? All this is just a drop in the ocean. Your future is in your hands”
Residents of Gaza live in harsh and unprecedented conditions in the war, which has killed them, destroyed their homes, displaced them and left them vulnerable to massive famine.
The World Bank said: “Approximately 45 percent of residential buildings in the Gaza Strip were completely destroyed, meaning that nearly one million people have completely lost their homes in the area.”
According to a World Bank report, 34,000 homes have been completely destroyed as a result of the ongoing occupation of the Gaza Strip since October 7, out of 55,000 homes, a destruction rate of about 60 percent.
The destruction killed 27,238 Palestinians, injured 66,452 and displaced approximately two million Palestinians.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has announced that an estimated 17,000 Palestinian children have lost their parents or been separated from their families in Gaza.
“Parents of children in the Gaza Strip have been killed, injured or forced to relocate,” Jonathan Greggs, UNICEF's director of communications in the Palestinian territories, told reporters in Geneva via video link from Jerusalem.
“The psychological state of Palestinian children is severely affected and they show high levels of constant anxiety and symptoms such as loss of appetite, they cannot sleep, and they suffer emotional or panic attacks every time they hear an explosion.”
He added, “These children have nothing to do with this conflict. But they suffer in a way that no child should be exposed to. “No child, regardless of their religion, nationality, language or ethnicity, should be exposed to the level of violence we have seen since October 7, 2023.”